Saving Entangled Sea Lions

Sea lions are well-known for their playful curiosity, but sadly this inquisitive nature can lead to a tragic outcome as they become entangled in marine debris.

It's estimated that more than 400 sea lions along the B.C. coast are currently caught in discarded rope, nets, packing bands, and monofilament line. If left untreated, these materials often result in a prolonged and painful death.

Fortunately, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society (VAMMR) has pioneered a way to disentangle and save the lives of these animals.

Pioneers in Disentanglement

The VAMMR team has helped develop a specialized technique to save sea lions entangled in marine debris. This method involves the use of a dart to administer anesthetic agents, allowing for the safe handling of the injured animal to remove the debris.

Dr. Martin Haulena, our Executive Director, is notably the only veterinarian in Canada, and among a select few globally, qualified to conduct this precise procedure.

A Complex Rescue Mission

Disentanglement operations are incredibly complex and are done in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) under license # XMMS 1 2023.

Often carried out at sea, each rescue mission requires not just favorable weather and ocean conditions but also a team of expert staff, specialized equipment, and vessel support from DFO. The costs for each operation ranges between $5,000–$10,000 for staff costs, medication, equipment and transportation costs.

Your generous donations fuel these life-saving missions, enabling us to protect and preserve marine life against the challenges of marine debris.

Image of Be A Marine Mammal Hero

Be A Marine Mammal Hero

Ocean trash and human activity is a persistent threat to all marine mammals. None of the VAMMR's life-saving work would be possible without your support.

By making a gift today, you will help the Rescue team:

  • Use innovative techniques to save entangled animals.

  • Perform complicated medical procedures in the wild.

  • Train other veterinarians and animal experts from around the world so they can rescue and treat entangled animals on their coastlines.

  • Change the life of an animal directly affected by human negligence.